NEWPORT BEACH – A 75-year-old man who has been battling health issues for years is suspected of shooting and killing a doctor at his office Monday night, authorities said.
A neighbor of Stanwood Fred Elkus said he was often negative about his persistent health problems, and after helping him work on a motor home Sunday night, Elkus insisted he take $10 for the work and a pair of wire cutters.
“I might not be alive much longer,” James Lord, 54, said Elkus told him.
Lord said he didn’t think much of the statement, knowing Elkus was often pessimistic about his health.
“I wish I could have seen the signs of it,” he said.
Elkus was taken into custody in the second-floor offices of 520 Superior Ave., at the offices of Ronald Franklin Gilbert. Gilbert was identified by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
Authorities said about a half-dozen shots were fired at about 2:45 p.m. inside the Newport Beach medical offices. When officers arrived, Elkus was taken into custody without incident, said Kathy Lowe, spokeswoman for the Newport Beach Police Department.
Gilbert was the former chief of Hoag Hospital’s Department of Urology, and had worked in the hospital for almost 20 years, according to a statement released Tuesday by Richard Afable, President and CEO of the hospital.
“Dr. Gilbert dedicated his career to serving others,” the statement read.
His 53rd birthday would have been Wednesday.
Lord – the neighbor – said he’d known Elkus for about five years, and would be often asked to watch over his Lake Elsinore home while Elkus attended doctor appointments.
For years, Elkus had been battling prostate health problems, he said.
“I’d always tell him thinks would look better,” Lord said.
On Monday night, police searched Elkus’ Lake Elsinore home and took several items as evidence, Lowe said.
Authorities would not say whether Elkus was or had been a patient of Gilbert. Newport Beach Police officials also declined to comment on a possible motive, citing an ongoing investigation.
Although the building was filled with patients and employees, no other injuries were reported.
On Tuesday morning, several additional guards were patrolling the area.
Gilbert, a 1987 graduate of UCI College of Medicine, had been a practicing physician and surgeon since 1989, according to the California Medical Board.
The website for Orange Coast Urology stated he was married and had two children.
On Tuesday, Elkus was being held in the Men’s Jail in lieu of $1 million. Arrest records listed his profession as a barber.
By SALVADOR HERNANDEZ and CLAUDIA KOERNER/ THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
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